Coal Fairy Tale

By Graham Pinn

The 2021 census for the first time reported on health, it revealed that 1 in 10 had a mental health problem. Surveys during the COVID period have shown that the young are particularly at risk, a risk compounded by the apocalyptic predictions of climate change. The combination of the two has undermined resilience and led to an increase in depression and suicidal attempts.

The news and social media, aided and abetted by “our ABC”, have contributed, there is also no doubt that climate negativity at school has been a factor, strongly influenced by both teachers and the curriculum. The newly announced intention of NSW and Victoria State Governments, to provide early learning from the ages of 3 or 4, increases that risk. My solution, parents should not be farming their children out at this age, instead tell them stories of hope and future promise.

The tale below, of the Princess Tricity and her salvation, is one for my grand-children.

Old King Coal, a modern allegorical fairy tale

Once upon a time, there was a quaint old country that the world seemed to have passed by. At its head was Old King Coal, who had been a merry old soul, was no longer happy, he now lived in troubled times; he could no longer afford his fiddlers three and they had moved on, he was ageing and losing his power.

His castle was in need of repair, with bits falling off the ramparts, he could not afford a new one; his subjects feared its collapse and were becoming restless. Because of past good times, they had become spoilt, they had forgotten the benefits of his traditional reign, and were increasingly being misled into looking for change.

His darling daughter, Princess Tricity, was also unhappy. Her future prospects looked dim and there were no possible acceptable suitors on horseback, only those with white chargers; the end of the Coal dynasty was in sight. She sat in her castle tower, waiting in vain for the arrival of a distant Prince; there were no obvious choices after Prince Sea-sea-ess and Prince Hele had been banned from entering the Kingdom. Her future, and that of her father’s realm was uncertain, and there were concerns that dark forces might seize dominion over the land.

Claims were made that the old system had become dangerous; rumour was rife. There were stories of strange new powers in other lands, new powers which might change lives forever, perhaps for the better, but perhaps not. Known as the Renewables, one Prince had become infamous by clearing vast areas of forest and wildlife habitat, and erecting massive towers to show his power; another had desecrated homes by covering their roofs with glass.

These new powers smacked of alchemy and black magic, no one understood how they were driven; the old ways and old faiths seemed to be under threat, and the Princess feared for the future. There was talk of pagan beliefs, with worship of the sun and the wind.

Some had heard of fire-breathing dragons, capable of burning the land and killing all with their heat; others had heard of the rising of the sea. The apocalypse was coming and the people prayed for salvation, God would punish the wicked but protect the faithful.

Suddenly, the threat to power was resolved. The long- forgotten Prince Nuke reappeared as their saviour, to protect them from the darkness of these evil practices. Refreshed and restored, his armour and shield shining once more, he had come to their aid to slay the dragons and doom-sayers. Princess Tricity had recognised her old fossil father was nearing the end, but as shown by activity in other realms, he was not quite finished and he had decided not to abdicate. However, she realised that her future, and that of her realm, lay with the reinvigorated and reliable Prince Nuke.

In time they gave birth to many small modular children, their world was re-energised and freed of false religions. Her lands were saved, the light remained, and they all lived happily ever after.

The end.

Dr Graham Pinn, FRCP, FRACP, FACTM, Retired Consultant Physician

Lived and worked in 10 countries and has seen first hand the need for fossil fuels to lift living standards and improve health, compared with the health problems from (biomass) wood burning. Renewables do not work in these places (let alone here).

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